Powell High School’s girls’ swim team got two wins for the price of one Saturday in Buffalo.
The Panthers beat out both Worland and Buffalo in a three-way dual. Powell won 115-66 against Worland and 100-80 against the host Bison.
More importantly, six Panther swimmers qualified in new events including three who qualified in two events each. Junior Stephanie Liggett and freshmen Aly Schneider and Emily Doughty each added two new events.
Liggett, whose strengths have traditionally been in non-freestyle events, led the way with two qualifying victories in the 200 and 500 free events.
“She’s always been really, really strong in the fly, back and in the breast,” said head coach Luke Robertson. “She’s really worked a lot in the freestyle with the club team and I think that’s really paid off.”
Schneider picked up 200 IM and 500 free qualifications with third-place finishes in each, and now leads the team with seven qualifications. The 100 breast is the only event in which Schneider has yet to qualify.
Robertson said many of his swimmers are capable of qualifying in all eight swim events, but freshmen and sophomores normally swim a more varied event schedule early in the season and therefore have a chance to qualify in more events.
“They swim more diverse (events) just because I know what I got in my juniors and seniors, where their strengths lie,” Robertson said. “So I’m constantly trying things to see where they’re at.”
Doughty finished third in the 100 free and fifth in the 200 IM to earn her fourth and fifth qualifications of the season.
Senior Baxter Heinert picked up her sixth qualification with a fourth-place finish in the 200 IM.
Sophomore Taryn Bohlman added the 100 back to her growing list of qualifications when she won the event just ahead of teammate SarahJean O’Neill.
“She’s improved a lot from her freshman year to her sophomore year,” Robertson said of Taryn. “She came at the start of the year doing better right off the bat.”
Bohlman is just the 500 free and 100 breast shy of qualifying in every swim event.
“I know this year in practice she’s been working really hard,” Robertson said. “The kids that work really hard in practice — they’re going to see it pay off in the meets.”
O’Neill’s second-place finish was also fast enough to qualify her in the event and she now has five qualifications midway through the season.
Following Friday’s meet, seven Panthers have five or more qualifications, and five have six or more.
“We got a lot of kids who are like two events shy of running the table,” Robertson said. “I’ll give everyone at least one shot, if not more.”
Two Panthers came within a second of qualifying in the 50 free.
Sophomore Tristan Bohlman was the runner-up but fell just .28 seconds short of the 29.20 qualifying time. Freshman Katie Doughty finished third and was only .92 seconds shy of qualifying in her third event.
Powell placed seven of the top-10 swimmers in the 50 free.
Sophomore Shelbe Chouinard and freshman Beth McCaslin both made significant time cuts in Buffalo.
Chouinard cut 11 seconds off her time in the 200 free and McCaslin cut seven seconds in the 100 back.
Robertson said the influx of fast swimmers to his team has led to improvements throughout the roster.
“When you start adding a bunch of fast swimmers they start pushing each other,” he said.
Powell will compete against another bunch of fast swimmers when the Lander Tigers come to town for an evening dual Friday. The Panthers bested the Tigers at the Lander Invite Aug. 31 and again at the Gene Dozah Invitational Sept. 14 in Powell.
Coach Robertson downplayed any budding rivalry between the historically strong Tigers and the upstart Panthers.
“It’s another team that’s really going to push us and make us faster, make us better,” Robertson said.
Powell vs. Lander is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Friday at the Powell Aquatic Center.